Kyrie vs. Steph is NBA's Most Entertaining Matchup

OAKLAND, Calif. – Kyrie Irving versus Stephen Curry is the most entertaining matchup in basketball.

Period.

The hype around Saturday’s primetime matchup between the Celtics and the Warriors, the leaders of their respective conferences, was real. For those who watched the game live around the world, it was everything they had hoped for. For those who enjoyed the game live and in person, it was worth every penny.

All thanks to Irving and Curry.

The All-Star point guards combined to score 86 points - 37 by Irving and 49 by Curry – while displaying electric ball-handling and shot-making skills throughout the duration of the contest, which Golden State narrowly won, 109-105.

Even former MVP and nine-time All-Star Kevin Durant couldn’t help but to take it all in.

“You just got to sit back and enjoy the show,” he said. “You know what I’m saying?”

We know exactly what you’re saying, KD. So does King James.

Sheesh is right. Irving versus Curry is the matchup that boggles the mind, time and time again.

Everyone loves to watch LeBron versus Durant. The combination of their size and skill is incredible.

The same goes for Russell Westbrook versus other star guards. It’s entertaining, and whenever Westbrook’s ridiculous athleticism shows up, jaws drop.

But Irving versus Curry, when both players have it going, is undeniably epic. It’s a constant jaw-drop, that literally boggles the mind.

Saturday’s battle was the perfect example. These two all-world guards didn’t just score; they dazzled. They make impossible shots. They showcased impossible handles. They saw things that no one else saw. Irving shot 13-for-18 from the field (72.7 percent) and Curry shot 16-for-24 from the field (66.7 percent).

And all of that was on display from the very start, when Irving scored 14 points during the first quarter, until the very end, when Curry scored 13 during the final 1:42 of the game.

“You could tell was kind of back and forth,” Durant observed, “but, it wasn’t one of those back-and-forths where they kind of just hijacked the game and just played one-on-one all within the floor. We were trying to look for Steph, they were looking for Kyrie, and they came to play. That’s what high-level basketball players do.”

High-level falls short of describing what these two did Saturday night. This was otherworldly.

Take, for instance, this play by Irving:

Is this real life? Does that not look like a video-game glitch when Irving faces away from the basket and wiggles from his left to his right? How does a human being move so fluidly, in so many different directions, and manage to casually drop a 14-footer over a baseline trap that includes a gangly 7-footer?

And how about this one from Curry?

This one wasn’t his craziest make, but consider time and place. This is a transition possession, consisting of only four dribbles, with only four seconds ticking between Curry touching the floor and letting it fly, from three feet behind the 3-point line, on the run, and this was all with the game on the line! In the famous word of Mike Breen, “Bang!”

That shot gave the Warriors the momentum they needed to polish off an entertaining victory over the Celtics, but not before Irving scored five points of his own during the final 22 seconds to keep Boston’s hopes alive.

This back-and-forth battle was as good as it gets. It exuded everything. It excluded nothing.

Let’s put it this way: had this game taken place during the NBA Finals, it would go down in history as one of the greatest back-and-forths of all time.

Which left many satisfied onlookers pondering this thought Saturday night: How fun would it be to watch this matchup seven more times again in June?

Fingers crossed.